Friday Lore Post: The Early Catechism

After the death of Nathen Jerrel De’Kerken in the year SC -411, a strange thing happened. Humans started to worship him, despite the world being at war with all the gods. This was a slow development, but over a period of a few hundred years, worship of Nathen developed the tenets and structure of a formal church, which became known as the Catechism. This happened for a variety of reasons, the first of which was the fact that Nathen had a very hard time staying dead. 

Approximately a hundred years after Thunderfall, a human girl named Deana of Work’s Hill was born. She lived a completely ordinary life, notable only because she was identified by Rawen Janaj He’Matke as Nathen’s reincarnation—something that should have been impossible. At the age of twenty-four, she was assassinated on the orders of Klaus, the leader of the Spider Corps. She was then reborn as a boy named Daniel of Ash Meadow. Nathen’s reincarnations were kept quiet to all but a few upper members of the Spider Company at first, and that was intended to remain the case. That it became common knowledge within the Spider Company itself is not surprising, but more concerning than that, the stories started to spread to regular humans as well. 

During the time he was alive, few humans knew of Nathen, his clan’s influence having been on the decline for many human generations. After he died, however, some humans, hearing rumours that there had been one rogue god who was killing all the others, started to speak of him as a saviour figure, a rallying point for their ongoing war against the gods. Many of them even began fighting in his name. Over time, stories of him started to dissociate from the actual historical figure to the point where he became more of a legend, a lone rebel, a killer of evil gods. 

When tales of Nathen’s reincarnations started to spread, a belief began to grow that someday, Nathen would return to the world and aid his followers in the fight against evil. Not long after this, a series of prophecies pertaining to different figures who became known as the messiah, the Leader and the Liar were transmitted to humans. These prophecies and a growing belief in a god who would someday come back and save humans from ruin started to form together into a semi-coherent set of beliefs, and the humans who believed them also incorporated existing beliefs about the Gated Land and other primordial myths into the body of belief, interpreting those older myths through their new lens. 

It wasn’t only humans who believed in Nathen as a heroic god. Many members of the Spider Company, born long after Nathen’s death, started to believe them as well. A schism occurred within the Company as half of them chose to side with the humans who were forming this new religion and half did not, believing Nathen to just be one among many gods in need of killing. The next phase of the series of conflicts known as the Catechism Wars featured warfare between the two halves of the former Spider Company. Those who had chosen to side with the Nathen-worshippers became known as angels, partially, many would later argue, because their leader Raphael intentionally played into certain mythologies about angels that were prevalent at the time in order to gain support. 

The Nathen-worshipping/angelic side eventually prevailed, and the worship of the now nameless God had spread sufficiently that it started to develop hierarchies and structures only loosely affiliated with the angels’ militant ones. The narratives that these worshippers told each other incorporated a healthy mix of long-established folk heroes who were amalgamated into the tradition and became saints alongside newer stories that did in reality feature worshippers of Nathen living out—and dying for—their faith. With the Saint’s Calendar established in the year SC 1, the religious viewpoint of this group of people began to shape the continent that would become known as Menechit. Because they spoke frequently of their church’s teachings, they became known as the Catechism, and they began to rapidly spread across the continent, as well as to other continents. 

The first High Presbyter was selected by the angels in the year SC 16 to lead the worldly church, with Raphael feeling it was better if the humans governed themselves rather than being governed by immortal beings who didn’t truly understand their needs. The angels retreated, but often remained participants from afar in Catechism affairs, including helping build the First Church of the Blessed. Generally angelic participation in the Catechism was extremely behind the scenes, or if it was more direct, it was often done in disguise—many angels have disguised themselves as priests over the centuries, though many have disguised themselves as other things as well. On rare occasions when a heavier hand was deemed necessary, generally by Raphael, one or several angels would show themselves to select members of the church in order to effect a certain change. A notable example was after the Flame Wars when a separation between the spiritual and earthly judiciaries that was suggested by the Dolovin queen Maia the Great earned support from the church after Raphael spoke privately with the High Presbyter Julian the Pure.

It took roughly four centuries after that before Catechism beliefs solidified into a recognizable canon of beliefs, practices, histories and scriptures, and during that time there was a great deal of debate about all facets of the emerging religion. The modern Catechism tells its history as one that had a solidified canon by the year SC 500, but in reality the tradition’s canon has shifted for its entire history, with different versions of stories taking precedence depending on the shifting values of the day. 

Whoever it was that leaked stories of Nathen to the humans has never confessed to the indiscretion, but at this point in time, it hardly matters. The secret is out and the religion not only exists, but has changed the history of Nova forever. 

From “The Definitive Atlas of the World, Vol. 6: Mythologies and Beliefs,” by Pascal Tiberius Naoton Quimbell Haeverine anNatalie, published in White Cape in DN 1997.

4 thoughts on “Friday Lore Post: The Early Catechism

  1. If you’re afraid of someone killing you: worship him/her/it/them. It might help.
    Sadly enough if often enough helps only you, while others are getting killed in your place.

    But well, thinking of the oh-so-peaceful christian church and its crusades… it’s always and everywhere the same, right? *sigh*


    1. In this case it helps that they started worshipping him mostly after he’d stopped killing everyone. 😀

      But I mean this is kinda how it often works, yes. Groups are formed by creating distinctions between themselves and other groups, and that often leads to violence, sadly.



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